The Cité du design is an efficient platform for thinking practices, needs and uses. It is updating the way design contributes to the emergence of new dynamics in contemporary domains, whether social, economic, political or cultural.
A member of the UNESCO Design Creative Cities network, Saint-Étienne has established itself as a model conurbation of user-centred design in Europe, and in particular the Design Creative City Living Lab, spearheaded by Cité du design that uses real-life environments to experiment and co-create via user-centred design methodologies for innovation.
Complementary to methods used in Marketing or Human Sciences, design proposes short-term qualitative methodologies that are visual, and are therefore immediately comprehensible and easily shareable. Such methods make it possible to detect weak signals and not only lead to the emergence of new products and services, but also to enrolling partners and/or end-users in participatory approaches. This process is a factor in the appropriation of the project by its members.
The ‘toolbox’ offered by the Cité du design covers the whole field of user-led innovation, from the exploration of practices (studies of uses, LUPI® - Use and Innovative Practice Laboratory), to co-creation workshops involving end-users and experts, to testing concepts, products or services with users in the Labos (labs) during events.
What is unusual about the Cité du design’s offer is company guidance in the choice and fulfilment of these methodologies through dedicated project management support. Through the BEDA Cluster activities, the Cité du design shares this User-Centred Design expertise to all the BEDA members. It is constantly devising new methodologies in order to innovate with design and detect unexpressed demands and needs from businesses and ever-evolving lifestyles.
Example: Waiting in public transportation
During the 9th Biennale Internationale Design Saint-Étienne in March 2015, the Cité du design organised a co-creation workshop: The user comes first! The participants were able to try out a number of user-centred tools (user observation, user interviews on the sidewalk, ideation cards…).
The participants had to take into consideration the fact that the main issue for design was the user experience in that particular context. The user has to be the central concern and of any kind of issue in the design of products or services. The primary goal of the team is to show and demonstrate to the workshop participants the tools and support used by professional creatives.
Labos: User Experience (a Living Lab where companies and end user meet and discuss/co-create/iterate new concepts and services, eg Lab Biennale 2015 Weiss) @ Cité du design
LUPI: User Exploration (observation and analysis of user practices, Cité du design workshop during Design & Innovation 2015 Forum). Biennale to Business © C. Pierot